This week we had the opportunity to explore a bit more of Grenada and finally made it up to the city of St. George’s for their very busy Saturday farmer’s market and to check out the Grenada Fish Market. It is about a 2 hour walk from our anchorage to the city so, understandably, we took one of the “shopping taxis” for 15 EC (Eastern Caribbean dollars) or $7 CAD. A 25 minute taxi ride beats a 2 hour walk in any temperature, let alone 31 degrees Celsius heat (humidex of 39 degrees!). The taxi, really a mini van, packs in about 12 people so it is tight but comfortable. Plus, it is a great way to meet our fellow boaters from various anchorages.
St. Georges city centre looks like a small city with lots of low-rise businesses and services but every street and alleyway were packed with sidewalk vendors. And this is in addition to the vendors with stalls within the actual farmer’s market itself. There was lots to see and buy!
But our big focus was making it to the Fish Market, which is just off the Fisherman’s Wharf in St. George’s. Every Friday, the fishermen unload their catches here and, this being Saturday morning, we were hoping to still find some good buys. I was able to get some lovely tuna but our friends on Wahoo (Roy and Dale), were looking for Conch (pronounced “konk”) and there was none to be had anywhere in the market. No worries though, we were told that there might be some for sale across the street. Off we went and, yes! A few ladies sitting on the sidewalk had a cooler full of cleaned and bagged conch! Dale picked up a bag but I hesitated. What in the world would I do with conch? I had no idea how to prepare it or how to cook it. Dale to the rescue! She has lots of experience with conch and offered to host a “clean, prepare and cook” session on her boat. Awesome!
Earlier this week, we also got to check out the campus of St. George’s University, which is home to the St. George’s University School of Medicine and the St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine, both highly accredited and world-renowned. In addition to wanting to see the schools, we needed to take Ocean to the Small Animal Clinic at the university to get her annual vaccinations and to have a vet look at her right eye, which had developed a bit of an infection.
Arriving at the office, we were happy that it was air-conditioned and, more importantly, it was empty. They don’t take appointments in the summer so it is “first come, first served” but with no one else in the office, they saw Ocean right away. Two veterinary technicians took Ocean’s vitals and history. It certainly felt like VIP service. Afterwards, they took Ocean to the Veterinarian on duty, in the back exam rooms, while we waited patiently in the main lobby area.
And there we waited. And waited. And, well, we waited some more. After an hour and a half, I was really feeling the cold from the air-conditioner. The level of the air-conditioning was appropriate for the uniformed staff and their furry clients but was a bit much for two sailors in shorts and who are now acclimatized to the Grenadian heat. I actually had to step outside to warm up!
The Vet appeared with Ocean just after the 2 hour mark and gave us the low down on her bad eye. She definitely had an inflamed third eyelid (yes – dogs have three eyelids!) but the cause was not as definitive. Being part of the veterinary school, they had done every test and analysis known to man, likely with on-looking students. Nothing was overlooked or not considered. They had measured eye pressure, looked for scratches, ulcers, unusual dryness – the whole gambit! Nothing unusual was found so it was determined that sand or some other irritant was the culprit and prescribed her a heavy-duty eye medication. The total cost for the examination, tests, medications, her annual vaccinations plus some extra dog treats that we couldn’t resist? A mere $130 CAD. Wow! This is great news as we will need to return later in the year to get her exit health certificate before we leave Grenada and head to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
We also enjoyed lots of great times out and about in Grenada!
Want to know where we are today and where we are headed next season? Click the buttons!
Oh my gosh, “island time”. This is a running joke, whether you live in the Caribbean, other islands, even in the United States or Canada. Everyone knows that “island time” means things are not running on a 9-5, bing-bang, “let’s-get- things-done” timeline. No, things get done when they get done, and sometimes, unfortunately, they don’t get done. Sigh. Sometimes “island time” is, well, tiresome.
We have a long list of projects and tasks to get through in this off-season and we would like to get many of them started as soon as possible. The issue? Island time! We send off emails and texts about parts, services, or for information gathering and…no reply. Crickets. Even calling or dropping by in person doesn’t guarantee things move any faster. Well, this week we learned a great skill about working with “island time” and still getting stuff done.
You have to shake the tree. Huh? I’ll explain.
We are lucky in that the marina we are anchored nearby generously lets us not only use their dinghy dock but they also let us wander around their beautifully landscaped property. After a few shore walkabouts with Ocean, we realized that there were two very full mango trees along the pathway and, guess what? It is mango season! The mangos are too high to reach by hand so we needed help. We found the perfect stick (shaped like a hockey stick, no less) and were successful at trapping and knocking off several wonderfully ripe mangos. A few others were outside of the reach of the stick so Mike crawled up the trees a few feet to reach them. Still, lots of ready-to-eat mangos stayed safely perched high atop the trees. Oh well, we decided. We will just have to be happy with the low hanging fruit.
This week we arrived back at the trees, hoping that a few more easily accessible mangos would be ripe and ready to be knocked off. We managed a puny harvest of two mangos. Oh.
Then, along came a young gentleman from the marina, walking briskly towards us on his way to the other side of the marina. I am not sure how long he had watched our struggles but he didn’t hesitate. As we stood watching, he quickly climbed up the tree, much further up than Mike had attempted. And then what did he do? He started shaking the tree. Lots of loose mangos let go of their branches. Wow, this guy knows how to get his mangos! We collected the mangos for him but when he crawled down the tree, he waved us off. “Nope, they are for you” and then he started off again along the pathway to the other side of the marina. He was, for sure, your typical super-nice Grenadian. And we, for sure, just got a great lesson on getting things done in Grenada. Be patient, but if time goes on too long, you just might need to shake the tree a little 😉.
This new-to-us philosophy has worked well this week for getting information from businesses (call, wait, text, wait, shake tree i.e. text again, call, call, text etc.) and, also our weekly bus services (text, wait, text, wait, shake tree i.e. text, call, etc.). Once we shake the tree a bit, we get a reply. Even the busier pop-up markets, where there are usually more people than product, benefit from a little shake, albeit in a different form. Instead of waiting until the produce is all unpacked, displayed and promptly gobbled up by the crowd, we help the vendor bring the product to their table, making sure we select a few of our preferred items from the stash before we leave to get more product from their car. Perfectly shaken.
Besides shaking things up for ourselves 😉, we continue to have very full days. Most of the time we fit in some boat maintenance, an errand or two, walking or exploring with friends, and, of course, exercising Ocean. We somehow also find some quiet moments in the evening to share a sun downer with our ever-growing band of boat friends. These are very lovely days indeed.
Whew, we are getting acclimatized!
On our travels on Wild Horses this year, we have come to expect one of two situations for getting our groceries and supplies when we get to new ports (usually in new countries). It is either (1) walkable and fairly easy, or (2) non walkable and requires more effort or doing without.
The first situation is great. Who doesn’t love things to be easy? We just dinghy up to the beach or to the dinghy dock and make our way to the grocery store, marine store, or hardware store. Throw in a bakery and an electronics store and we are in heaven 😊. Getting fuel (gas, diesel) is also manageable by taking our jerry cans to a marina fuel dock. We usually get this kind of access when we are close to major cities. We tend to take advantage when things are this good because often we are faced with the second situation i.e. not much within walking distance. Actually, there is usually a small convenience-like grocery store available in most places, but the items on the shelves tend to be offered at a premium price. In those cases, we either do without (if it isn’t urgent) or we rent a car or grab a taxi (if it is urgent). We usually see this in out islands or in small villages.
When we first arrived in the Grenadian islands, we made landfall in Tyrrell Bay, Carriacou (the small Grenadian island just north of the main island of Grenada). Tyrrell Bay is a small town but with a large cruising community. We could walk to get our basic needs met (a few grocery and marine stores, fuel dock and a few hardware-like stores) but did without for those things that were not readily accessible (actual hardware stores and fully stocked grocery and marine items).
Then we arrived at the southern coast of the main island of Grenada, very close to the city of St. Georges. Our expectation was that we would be able to get everything we need here. They have lots of grocery stores, fish markets, pet stores, hardware stores, veterinarians, dentists. Really everything is here! But, none of it is walkable from most of the southern anchorages and a dinghy ride is nothing less than “extremely salty”.
And renting a car? Yikes. That would be an exercise in fearlessness that we just don’t have in us. Left lane driving + narrow, winding and hilly roads + no discernable speed limit = Complete Terror as a passenger. I cannot imagine being the driver!
Things here don’t exactly fit into our nice little categories of “easy access” or “no access”!
So, where does that leave us? Well, Grenadian ingenuity has this figured out. There are “grocery buses” (aka mini vans) that run on regular schedules taking people to all the usual haunts – the IGA grocery store, Budget Marine, ACE hardware and a local wholesale warehouse, all for just 15 EC ($7 CAD) a person. If you have a specialty place you need to visit, then you can get a taxi (aka mini van) and pay 80 EC ($40 CAD). Even better, local entrepreneurs also come to us! They drive their minivans and cars along the remote roads into the secluded Secret Harbour Marina property, bringing with them fruit, fresh herbs, vegetables, breads, ice cream, propane and wine. Gas and diesel are also on site.
Somehow, when you mix all of this together, well, we manage to get everything that we need albeit in a very unique way 😊.
Of course, when we can walk, we do. This week we were told of a great “shortcut” into Prickly Bay, which is the next bay to the west of Secret Harbour. Prickly Bay is wonderful as it has a marine store, butcher shop, coffee shop and a few great restaurants. The “shortcut” is truly short, thankfully, as it is commonly over 30 degrees Celsius here and much of it is very hilly. Sweating is a national pastime! But the walk to Prickly Bay was worth it. We started through beautiful residential streets, passed a scenic public beach (where Ocean got to have a quick swim to cool off) and finally ended up at the West Indies Brewery, the local pub/brewery that serves up cold, flavourful micro-brews and delicious bites to eat. A great walk that ends with a beer – perfect!
It has been a good first week here, figuring things out as we go and getting a few boat projects started. Our days are busy but we always leave time for exploring or hanging out with friends. We see several fun months ahead of us here!
Click the link below to see where we are spending hurricane season this year!
Yesterday marked a huge milestone for the crew of Wild Horses. After more than twelve years of planning, researching and thinking about this trip, we arrived at the southern coast of Grenada, the furthest point south we intended to go in our first year as liveaboards in the Caribbean. There is a lot to celebrate with having dreamed, saved, designed and persevered over so many years. We have accomplished our first long duration travel goal aboard Wild Horses. Wow.
Here is our journey in numbers:
That is straight data, but the experiences we have had are too numerous to count, including:
We are beyond happy and ready to start dreaming of what’s next 😊.
But where are we now? We are in Mount Hartman Bay, which is a quiet and beautiful anchorage, midway along the southern coast of the island. It is less than a two-hour boat ride to the busy capital of St. George’s and even closer to many of the lovely anchorages littered along the southern coast. Over the next four months we intend to visit most, if not all, of them as well as sailing back to Carriacou to visit more anchorages there.
In the meantime, we are learning the ropes of how things work here. Fuel is available only on certain days and between certain times. Same with propane. Most have a “leave it with us and pick up later” service which is new for us. Until now, we have just filled as we go. We are also learning where to get things repaired and installed, how to get deliveries, and where to buy the cheapest groceries, and when. Some of this info is available from the local marina, other info is provided via the Cruisers Net broadcast daily on the VHF. Face book cruising sites for Grenada and Carriacou are also full of info, although not entirely reliable at times (emotions and recency bias seem to plague Facebook). Finally, we learn a lot by just chatting with locals or with our fellow cruisers.
Speaking of which, when we arrived in Mount Hartman Bay yesterday, along with our buddy boat Caretta, guess who was here to greet us? Two of our buddy boats from our journey from Georgetown, Bahamas to Luperon, Dominican Republic! Andre and Joane on “That’s It” met us in their dinghy as we entered the anchorage and Pam and Kim from “Kemana” waived warmly as we anchored to their port side. What a sight for sore eyes! All three boats had taken slightly different routes to Grenada and had different timing for getting here but here we are! All together (and with Caretta), it just seemed very right to be surrounded by so many good friends as we reached our sailing goal. 😊
Even though we are in Grenada, we will not be sitting still. Check out where we are today by clicking the button below.
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.